UK (De Montfort University) Law professor leads work reviewing how European countries implement human rights law
Norway, Finland, Estonia, Sarajevo, Vilnius and Budapest are just some of the stops on a fact-finding research tour which aims to discover the ways in which authorities are implementing human rights law.
Professor David Walsh of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is visiting police forces, universities, and policy makers to see how they have applied the Méndez Principles, a UN declaration, which provides guidance to develop and implement measures that prevent ill-treatment and forced confessions.
He said: “The idea is to see whether these set of principles, which were adopted by the UN, are being considered and studied, how different countries are responding to the principles and considering them.
“Some places are further along the path than others in adopting these principles and it is interesting the see the different approaches. I will be having conversations about what I and DMU can do to support them in this and learn from good practice towards developing those goals.”
The Mendez Principles are named for Juan Mendez, former UN Special Rapporteur on torture, and were drawn up as an alternative to coercive and confession-based interrogation. It was endorsed by 140 countries in 2021.
They promote rapport-based interviewing during criminal justice investigations and other forms of information-gathering processes. The principles set the foundations of effective interviewing and Prof Walsh’s aim is to meet with senior members of police, judiciary and Government to see how countries have changed interviewing approaches or adopted the principles.
Already in Helsinki, Professor Walsh has presented to police, prosecutors, Ministry of Justice and academics and looking at how the different interviewing techniques could help trafficking investigations. Having now received substantial funding for a four-year project, he is, from October leading a team of more than 40 international researchers to further develop networking and research to underpin developments in this area.
In tribute to comedian, Sir Michael Palin’s epic round the world travelogue, Professor Walsh named the trip PALIN – Principles, practice, And Law in INterviewing and Interrogation.